Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Random Things

Read up on the "Stimulus Package" today. What a farce. What a very expensive farce. Who wants to wager that this country will have blown through several Trillion dollars in "stimulus", will have very little stimulus to show for it and just as in the 1960's these "temporary" stimulus items will become entitlements. We'll call it the "Great Society II" except it will only be a mediocre society at best. It certainly will be an Obamanation to those who have to foot the bill...who are those people?...Oh yeah...that's me.

You know, if you spend $1400 on car repairs, I don't care how cold it is, I want my car wash that comes with the repair. Soon we will have deer roaming into the city to lick the car. I already saw the neighbor bringing his Margarita glasses out to it. Maybe I will give it a sponge bath tonight.

Speaking of farces, I have been observing some confessional crusaders in blogland lately. Not the thoughtful more introspective crowd I would banter with in the past, but the more wacky militant branch that I refer to as Area 51. I'd say its the difference between the Wall Street Journal and the Enquirer. I don't participate in the discussions because that is a pointless waste of time, but it is like a train wreck on the sheer entertainment value. It also fills the time while waiting to pick up Ike from St. Marcus.

Their leader is a well educated man with degrees from top schools in the country, which amazes me because his critical thinking skills, open-mindedness, and basic scholarship are so lacking. A thorough review of the facts is irrelevant before posting conclusions. What he is skillful in is non sequitur association. An example would be to say something like, "Our economy is suffering and the fatherland has been treated unfairly."...then also stating "Jews are in government and also treat people unfairly." Then those who fail to check the facts or lack critical thinking skills walk away with their new mantra that "Jews are the cause of all our problems...we need to do something about this!!" It must be something about ego-maniacs.

I guess that would be the question...does he do these things because he is actually that smart and knows how to stir up the common man in a grand vicious religious scheme? or does he actually believe what he posts and willfully tries to sway opinions with passionate yet misguided accusations. Just like the Enquirer and All-Star Wrestling, its sheer sillyness is what makes it so entertaining. I'd just be a little bit embarrassed to be one of those institutions that gave out an advanced degree and then saw it used in an effort of educational or scholastic malpractice.

Well who am I to talk. I came out of UW-Madison more conservative than when I entered. I'm sure it is a disappointment to UW as well. On the other hand they haven't stopped asking me for money yet.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My favorite Demotivators

Here are the demotivators that best apply to me.

Compromise: Let's agree to respect each others views, no matter how wrong yours may be.

Challenges: I expected times like this - but I never thought they'd be so bad, so long, and so frequent.

Destiny: You were meant for me. Perhaps as a punishment.

Goals: It's best to avoid standing directly between a competitive jerk and his goals.

Government: If you think the problems we create are bad, just wait until you see our solutions.

Insanity: It's difficult to comprehend how insane some people can be. Especially when you're insane.

Power: Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. But it rocks absolutely, too.

Pretension: The downside of being better than everyone else is that people tend to assume you're pretentious.

Priorities: Hundreds of years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove... But the world may be different because I did something so bafflingly crazy that my ruins become a tourist attraction.

Propaganda: What lies behind us and lies before us are small matters compared to what lies right to our faces.

Sanity: Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can borrow mine.

Tradition: Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.

Wishes: When you wish upon a falling star, your dreams can come true. Unless it's really a meteorite hurtling to the Earth which will destroy all life. Then you're pretty much hosed no matter what you wish for. Unless it's death by meteor.

Church Band

In an effort to start a musician rotation and in light of new members with musical talent coming into the church, Victory is trying to get more musicians in the band. Since the drummer position has not had any other people audition for it, my wife joked to the drummer that she could be a drummer because she was getting 98% in RockBand.

So in order to help traditional churches introduce contemporary worship to their churches or just to get more people involved in the music, Karen and I decided that they need to make "ChurchBand" for Xbox and Playstation (WELS Version of course featuring "Thy Strong Word" and "A Mighty Fortress" on Expert mode)

Perhaps that should be my first project at CCD. :-)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Victory of the Lamb Update

I wanted to let you all know how Victory is doing. In January our attendance has been over 100 people every week...roughly around 110. We are getting close to maxxing out our current space. We are feverishly looking for a new space. I have prayed that Pastor Ben's meetings with showtime cinema were fruitful today. We have approached them twice before with rejections both times. Now we are prepared to see how capitalist they are. At some point money has to win out over convenience.

The Kids group is growing like crazy too and it is hard to share the same room at Sunday School/Bible Study time. It would be nice to give them their own space too.

All I can say is God is blessing this church and all these problems are His fault :-). If you know of a space that can seat 3-400 people on a weekly basis in southwest franklin...let us know.

The Weekend

Golly what a fast weekend. Whenever I feel like I got something accomplished on a weekend, it feels that way. It's probably because I keep doing things to get them out of the way with the remotest hope that I might get a nap. Alas Monday morning arrives and all is accomplished...except the nap.

Friday I got the house pretty much cleaned up. That included throwing away the tidbits of Christmas cookies and a few remaining Truffles sprinkled with Ecuadorian Cocoa dust or some such thing. Apparently my wife was pacing herself and throwing those away was not a good thing to do. Woops.

After Ike got back from mall ratting his peeps came over for the night. They were actually well-behaved and somewhat quiet. Sort of unusual. Well one of Ike's very emo/scene flaming gay looking friends (or more like a friend of a friend) got himself -permanently banned from the Niedfeldt Teen center. Joey came over and shortly after a matching emo unisex girl came over to meet him. She reminded me of the teenage girl in the movie "The Incredibles". Then Joey left. The girl he had brought to our house was still there and was trying to find a ride. Joey had decided to go to his girlfriends house for the night. Well his over-protective mother was not aware of that plan and called to find out when to get him and wasn't quite so happy that Joey was gone and was using Ike as an excuse to stay at his girlfriend's. Ike wasn't even aware that Joey had the plan because he was wondering why joey left a girl at our house. Turns out she had just come over to bring Joey his pot before he headed off to his girlfriend's. Soooo that is the end of Joey. As cool as it is to have the drug deals go down at my house I'd prefer a little less of that.

I used to feel sorry for kids like Joey. He's got an alcoholic abusive father and a controlling paranoid mother (well, with a decent amount of good reasons). He's got learning disabilities and struggles in school and at barely 15 already smokes like crazy and has had plenty of sex. His more recent descent into the freaky land of wearing girl clothes and the gayest of stuff is his form of rebellion. I think he hangs out with a herd of them at the mall. However so far all the kids we have had any sympathy for and hope that maybe just a little positive influence in their life might help...all come back and burn us. So ...I'll dispense with Joey now before I have to worry about it and Ike is too much of a follower to have someone like him around.

Saturday Karen and I went to Madison to go see the Broadway musical Sweeney Todd. I liked it but it required a lot of work to try to get the whole story out of the music. It's like telling a story in 16th notes. I think the stage work, the music, and the singing were amazing. Who'd of thought a musical would be so challenging mentally. Now I have to see the movie version. Kt had a day of rest and Ike worked.

Sunday after church, I tackled Ike's long awaited move into Zach's former room. Now that Zach is officially out of the house, his basement room was up for grabs and Ike definitely wanted it. So I cleaned out Zach's remaining stuff and boxed it up. I threw out 3 bags of garbage of old clothes stretching back to 7th grade, various collections of things and various explosives. Yeah I'd be a little nervous picking up our garbage this week. If you see a mushroom cloud over the landfill you'll know where it came from. I only wish I was kidding. there was M40's, M80's, bottle rockets, roman candles, which would only be the accellerants for the butane and acetylene canisters. Don't forget his homemade baggy of thermite. I also cleaned it thoroughly and it was very gross. Now Ike has moved in with a slimmed down amount of stuff and we will bag up all his little kid stuff that was still in his old room. Maybe next weekend I will clean that room out and prepare it for Karen's den. The next time zach returns he will have to stay on the pullout couch. Sort of a weird feeling yet I think its a good thing. It lacks that sense of permanence that I don't want Zach to feel. :-)

Random things. K had her bookclub yesterday. I think they added a person. The Jetta is in the shop today getting its issues looked at. Hopefully with that fixed we should have 3 decent working cars for awhile. We discovered the wonders of Golden Gyro's yesterday. Wow...huge gyros and massive Hamburgers. They were awesome food...and there is a constant line going through the drive-thru. A new favorite on the list. 73rd and Lincoln if you care to visit. We're probably the last people in the city to know about it though.

Have a great week!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Some Quick Items

Obama sickens me.

Here are pictures of my new bad boy Howard II. Yes I am that geeky. If you realized that I only get a new computer every 6 years or so and have never purchased a new monitor before, you'd know why I take pictures of my computer and post them like I had a new child.

Katie and Panda are demonstrating the sheer power and video clarity as Goldeneye is playing in the background in Dolby surround sound. Increased security is the order for the day as my jealous, drooling , lusty children hover around.

So this is where it all happens. I'm sure my wife will not be happy that Howard is in the
house. However I am ramping up a bit. I am re-doing my consulting website after not touching it for 6 years (it still had my NH address and phone numbers). I installed the C# WIKI software base (same as I used for and am now working on graphical schemes. I have had about 8 headers on this site in the last two days seeing what I like. Cheryl just keeps making me better ones. Thank you Cheryl!!! Now I have to re-work all the text and make project demo pages and various other pages. I would like to work more on church related websites and put an emphasis on work for the church. I'm not ready to jump off the deep end in outside consulting like in my former days. Since I have no clients, that won't be hard but when I do, I will pace myself and make sure I don't get carried away. Take a look at the new site as it develops. I'm really starting from scratch now.

I am also on facebook now. I started mine right after Karen started hers. For those family members out there it is a great place for photo albums and I have our trip photos and other ones I've taken out there. After our Treder family Xmas party I noticed Aunt Deb and Uncle Gerry now have facebooks and are cool too. I sort of like social networking. I ran into some old friends from high school on there too. I even found my boyhood friend from Colgate whom I last saw at my wedding. I feel a lil bit closer to people I don't get to talk to in awhile. So if you're on Facebook ...look me up. If you're not? Then get with the cool people and join.

Well this weekend Karen and I are seeing the play Sweeney Todd. I haven't seen the movie either so my views won't be tainted. I always look forward to our plays. The next one is Stomp. I saw that one in Boston and I loved it.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Members of the Family

Yes, last night our family grew by two. Howard II finally arrived after being partially assembled in Indiana and sent by UPS Ground. I loaded Windows XP on it and it came to life. I loaded all the XP updates and such but still have to reinstall software. It is very very speedy and I am very happy about that. What was even better was removing 60lbs of monitors from my desk top for one nice widescreen monitor. The cats were sad about this as the old CRT's provided warm sleeping spots and perches for chasing the elusive screen bug that vexed them so. The only thing more frustrating than chasing the mouse on my screen is the !!$#@ laser pointer. However there is so much room on my desk now they will probably just sit right in front of the screen and attack the flat panel.

The second arrival was a 1995 Mazda Protege. This car for all intents and purposes is "Kt's Car". I think it will work out great for her and trim gas costs by half what they were with the Mercury. This will replace the Mercury which seems to have aquired a terminal injury of a blown gasket. She's leaking oil..and its leaking radiator fluid..So it runs enough so I can move it around but would not last long on the highway. I will sell it for parts. Again proving the value of American cars.

The Protege is a nice little car. It gets great gas mileage and is pretty zippy with its rockin 1.5 liter 90 horsepower engine. It actually has more leg room in the back seat than the jetta. It has "power assist" windows and locks. That is where you assist the windows up and down by applying elbow power to the the crank or by flipping the locks. it was owned by a NML employee who upgraded to a new Protege because his girlfriend told him too now that he had a real job (totally whipped already I'd say). He had a nice Amp, stereo, and speakers in it so Kt will like that at least. It has very hot heat and no air conditioning.

I told her that there's nothing guys like more than practical tiny commuter cars in a lovely shade of champagne. Now doesn't that sound sophisticated...a champagne Protege?

One car down. Sometime we will need to be ready to replace the BMW. I cannot even believe how that car holds together. It's like the energizer bunny car. If we can get through the winter with it, I will get the RX7 in shape and use that for the summer and put off until next fall a proper car replacement for the BMW.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A quick update

I have a few minutes to update you on the week. It was busy....

I am very tired right now after falling behind on sleep. Yesterday morning we took Zach to the airport at 5:00am to head back to San Diego for a month. Ricky his best friend followed him out there a few hours later and they will check in to Camp Pendleton together this afternoon. Then he goes straight to Florida for two months. After that he could stay in Florida for another 3-8 months or he could end up at some other training location dependent on his exact specialty.

He had a great visist and spent a great deal of time with his friends. On Friday he had a last hurrah with them in our basement. I'm pretty sure from now on that group will branch out and diversify amongst their various colleges and soon will leave these days in the dust. Well except for Ricky. Ricky seemed to almost live with us while on leave.

Kt had two "cold days" off school last week while Ike did not. Ike was at the only school that was open in Milwaukee. It even made the news. St. Marcus provides transportation for any kids who might have to walk or ride the bus when it gets below 10 degrees. The rest of the kids are dropped off by parents. They do this because it would be hard for so many inner city families to take days off of work to stay home with kids, or to find daycare, or even to provide the two meals a day the school provides. All in all I did not think our -15 degrees was all that bad.

The Jetta is having some issues. I bought spark plugs and wires for it. I hope that resolves the issue ...otherwise it is probably a coil pack or mass airflow sensor....grrr. The Mercury had a cold issue too where I need to replace the Thermostat. That's not a bad issue of course because that is easy to do...just not fun in the cold. It's ironic that the BMW is the best runnign car in the house.

Alright I think thats all I have time for now. More later this week I'm sure.

Liberal and Conservative

Some conservative thinker came up with this nice way to sum up liberalism vs conservatism.

Liberals sacrafice freedom for security.
Conservatives sacrafice security for freedom.

Interestingly enough the quest for security is most striven for by people with the least confidence in themselves. Those with low self-confidence are generally are the least qualified to lead.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

When Did the Captivity of the American Way of Life Begin?

Today Joe commented on my "9 days until the American Captivity..." title of my previous post. He said, "I think the captivity began a long time ago; longer than most want to admit. November 22, 1963 is a pretty good benchmark for it." I was looking up the date for when I believed it began and found this introductory paragraph in Wikipedia. Can you guess which Presidents it was about? It would appear history has already been written. It will be easier to write this time around if we only have to change the names.

My History Quiz

"The United States presidential election of ** (1) Insert Election Year ** took place as the effects of the **(2)Insert Year** Stock Market Crash and the ** (3)Insert Economic Doldrum Here ** were being felt intensely across the country. President **(4)Insert Former President's Name ** popularity was falling as voters felt he was unable to reverse the economic collapse, or deal with **(5)Insert Domestic/International Turmoil here** . **(6)Insert President-Elect's Name here** used what he called **(7)Insert Former President's Name **'s failure to deal with these problems as a platform for his own election, promising reform in his policy called **(8)Insert Economic plan here ** . Although vague about how he would remedy the situation, **(9)Insert President-Elect's Name here** won by a landslide, and this "critical election" marked the collapse of the **(10)Insert Political System Here ** System or **(11) Insert popular Era name Here ** Era."

Well at least history doesn't repeat itself.

Monday, January 12, 2009

9 days until the American Captivity begins

So as the year begins and capitalism in America draws to a close, our lives continue on in cruise control. I'm so excited about "Hope" and "Change" and apparently it's multi-trillion dollar price tag(when I was in grade school I don't think we ever talked in terms of trillions...even for learning exponents). As we get down to the business of the mundane, there is not as much to blog about so I'm pretty sure I will have to dip into my treasure trove of personal favorite topics to supplement.

This last week Kt and Ike returned to school. That was pretty uneventful except Kt had off on Friday because the powergrid around her school went down so they sent the kids home. How lame is that. When we were kids...we could learn things without power and heat.

Zach was recruiting each day or at least was involved in "interesting" projects. This week he is winding down his leave. He leaves on Monday for a good 8-10 months. Whereas that may be a long time and I like him "visiting" I still have to say I don't want him living here anymore. He is a whirlwind of mess and people traffic and I guess I got all used to not having that when he was gone. I can get used to it again. I have noticed a changed attitude though about some things. It's amazing how tight he is. I heard these words right out of his mouth last night in response to a request from his mother to buy her some Oreos, "A dollar here and a couple of dollars there and I get nickeled and dimed out of my money." He did mention the one caveat in that it didn't matter if it was our money...

Howard is officially dead. Howard is the heart and soul of my home network. It was my Music mixing, DVD making, Dual monitored machine with a decent CPU and Memory. The motherboard has moved on. So the hard drives are still good and various other parts that I will rescue. I will order a new barebones CPU which is incredibly cheap for what it has. Howard II will be even stronger than before. In the mean time I have been a computer vagrant borrowing various computers around the house. All the computers on my home network were Happy Days characters. As the computers die off so has the Happy Day's names (yes Joanie and Chachi are dead as well)

The Treder family Christmas party this last weekend was a blast. I think there was about 45 people there. We had our white elephant gift exchange HOWEVER ......the trading part was cancelled due to time constraints. tsk tsk. I am letting the world now that with the group growing by at least two more scheduled babies right now and probably one to two more if the cousins get at it..that we propose right here and now that next year we implement the eastern orthodox white elephant exchange that involves getting your present and having the option of keeping it or taking one of the previously opened gifts. This eliminates the overhead of a double run white elephant exchange. I think this will restore that family friendly viciousness we all enjoy and concentrate ones fortunes in the draw of the cards...even if they are cut four ways and then you take two cards from each deck and flip the 2nd from the left. January 9th, 2010. I am inspired to start writing my poem right now. I think I will add to it each week I blog. I can't wait to see who gets it next year.

Well thats it for now. I am contemplating a post on some deep thoughts but I will ponder longer on those. Have a good week all.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 ..The Clean Slate

So I'm starting my New Year on January 5th. My desk is clean and organized. I have my calendar and task lists entered and updated and I synched them up to my phone. I think I am ready to go for the new year.

Although a bit delayed in beginning my new year, I have been assessing my blessings and I feel very comforted in what God has provided. Karen and I have each have good jobs at a great employer that can weather just about any storm. Heck all three kids have jobs too. We are all healthy and although we may be inherently odd, our family is strong and together. Our stressful struggles, such as fixing the various quirks on our FOUR cars, providing a private, christian education for our kids, replacing one stolen computer of our 5 computers, or after having the flat panel stolen, my daughter had to go back to the old standard TV of our 4 TV's remaining. One could be annoyed that the cat is shredding the corner of the couch instead of the scratching post right next to it. I have to get a new hair trimmers...thats annoying.

But looking around this morning while dropping Ike at school in the inner city and Zach at the recruiting sub station on the North side and even in our own neighborhood, I see the For Sale signs due to foreclosure, I saw a homeless man pushing a cart while it was 8 degrees outside this morning. I saw the recently out of business restaurant that used to be in the main level of my parking structure. I saw the guy ahead of me at the gas station count out change for two gallons of gas (I wonder if he got it from my ashtray...hmmmm).

Maybe two weeks holed up in my house is not such a good thing. I forget to look around and notice just how blessed I am when I truly look around and see others who have so much more going on. I'm thankful for the renewed perspective.

Well I will not regale you with the boring details of our weekend. Zach had another crew of friends over Friday night. Ike went midnight bowling with Naomi and several other friends. Kt was involved with Zach's party. Saturday there was a baby shower for Karen's cousin and the Men showed up later for dinner. Zach went to his friends in Wind lake afterwards...signalling that our frig must be empty now. Ike and Kt both worked. Sunday we visited my mother in Jefferson so Zach could eat her sloppy joes before he heads out in a couple of weeks. We had a good time talking about many topics. After we got home Zach headed to Wind lake again. This time to send off Steve who is starting MCT earlier than Zach and Ricky.

This week I think we will just settle back into a routine. Kt and Ike have school. Zach works 8-5ish. Saturday is the Treder Christmas. There will be about 40-50 people at K's mother's house and it will be fun and crazy. I always love that gathering of family. The Treders just know how to party.

Feelin' Fine in 2009